More importantly, however, it’s a colossal step in the right direction for the two-time Cy Young winner, who was written off by many heading into 2021.
He’d barely pitched since the start of 2019 and fans were skeptical of the Yankees bringing him aboard to solve their starting rotation stability issues. Kluber and Jameson Taillon? Wasn’t the whole point to sign guys who would guarantee the team a full season’s worth of contributions? There were so many unknowns.
While Taillon is slowly working his way back, Kluber has used the month of May to prove that he’s still among the best in the game when he’s healthy and dialed in.
And what a team effort it was. The bats weren’t exactly potent, but Tyler Wade and DJ LeMahieu came through for the team’s two RBI on the night … and those guys also delivered clutch performances on defense.
So did Gio Urshela. Just imagine the nerves you’re feeling when taking the field to preserve the no-no in the eighth and ninth innings. Ask catcher Kyle Higashioka! He said he was having mini panic attacks until the game finally ended.
Let’s take a look back at Wednesday night’s game and see which three defensive plays helped save Kluber’s historic night.
These three Yankees came in the clutch when defending Corey Kluber’s no-hitter.
3. DJ LeMahieu snagging tough short hop in ninth
To kick off the bottom of the ninth, Kluber faced Charlie Culberson, who, during his time with the Braves, built a reputation on being clutch. Would that translate into breaking up a no-hitter and saving his team from embarrassment again in 2021?
Well, he was close! On an 0-1 count, he sent one out to nearly up the middle, but LeMahieu was there. This was no ordinary defensive play, though.
LeMahieu was kind of in no man’s land in regard to where the ball was hit. He was too far away to snag it on the fly and too close to get it on an easy bounce. This sucker came in hot as a short-hopper. Check it out at the 3:01 mark here:
Culberson was busting it down the line and DJ managed to get his glove in perfect position to avoid the ball taking a nasty bounce. He corralled it in one fell swoop and fired a bullet over to Luke Voit at first to get the out. Whew. That was close.